The American Road to World Peace

By Alfred Zimmern | Go to book overview

immediately to the resignation of the Chamberlain government and the formation of an administration headed by Mr. Winston Churchill; this remained in power until July, 1945, after the end of the German war.

In May came the attack in the West-on Holland, Belgium, and France--with the break-through in the Ardennes, the rolling up of the allied armies and the improvised evacuation of the British and some French troops from the beaches of Dunkirk, carried out partly in the pleasure boats of private citizens. The British returned cheering and with no sense of defeat; "the others may be knocked out, but we have got into the finals," was their prevailing sentiment. But they had had to leave all but their rifles on the beaches. On June 22 came the armistice involving the suspension of all hostilities in metropolitan France.

During the eighteen months that followed-the period between Dunkirk and Pearl Harbor--the British Commonwealth fought on alone against all the strategic probabilities, at least as the experts elsewhere saw them. This experience has left an enduring imprint on the British mind and should never be forgotten by those in charge of the foreign relations of the United States. If Hitler had secured control of the Atlantic by a British capitulation in 1940, the agglomeration of power in the Old World would have placed the smaller island in immediate peril. Englishmen during those exhilarating months of the Battle of Britain and the blitz did not allow such thoughts to rise to the surface of their minds; but there are some might-have-beens which, in their psychological bearings, form part of the stuff of history.


CHAPTER 47: The Combined Chiefs of Staff

WHEN Hitler failed in his first attempt upon Britain, he broke off the engagement for the time being and decided to free his hand

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